Known as a “fierce advocate” for K-12 aerospace education, Joyce Abbey, who works to promote the importance of aerospace and NASA in her Houston, Texas, community, earned the honor of STEM Advocate of the Year at the 2018 Pinnacle Awards.
Abbey serves as the Johnson Space Center case study chief investigator with SAIC.
Those who nominated her for the award say her efforts promoting, sponsoring and participating in middle and high school education programs have helped thousands of students in Houston “envision a future in aerospace.”
Joyce leads several K-12 STEM initiatives, including with the Clear Creek Education Foundation, “where she uses her leadership position to weave the story and contributions of aerospace into educational initiatives in the district,” the nominator said.
She has also worked to implement a curriculum at three high schools called SystemsGo!, which allowed more than 60 high schools students to design, develop and launch their own high-altitude rockets.
One of Abbey’s greatest successes in promoting STEM in K-12 education is a program she founded called the Aerospace Teacher Extern Program. The program brings teachers to the NASA Johnson Space Center for a week-long externship, where the teachers can earn up to 40 hours of professional development credit. Participants learn about space science and human spaceflight, and teachers have the opportunity to meet directly with engineers, astronauts, scientists and others who support human spaceflight.
The 2018 Pinnacle Awards, which honor leaders and influencers in the GovCon space, were presented by WashingtonExec on Nov. 5.
Winners were named from list of 50 finalists across 13 categories.